On the streetsWho would you choose?

Rescued from Poverty

Waif girl

This is where you're going to discover just what it was like to have to go out to work at 9 years old or to be alone on the streets in Victorian times.

You'll be examining real photographs and extracts from Our Waifs and Strays and you'll be able to see what might have happened to some of the luckier children.

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  1. The industrial revolution meant that there were lots of extra jobs for people in towns and cities.
  2. Large numbers of both skilled and unskilled people came flocking to the towns looking for work.
  3. Wages were low and children had to go out to work and help to earn money for the family.
  4. Boys (if they were small) were employed as chimney sweeps and down coalmines. Other children delivered milk or sold matches and flowers on the streets.
  5. They lived in very crowded conditions. A street in London in 1902 had 20 lodging houses with a total of 650 people sleeping there.
  6. Single rooms could be rented for 5 shillings a week (worth 25p today) and a whole family of 6 or more might live in one room.
  7. Many children were turned out of their home and left to fend for themselves at an early age and many more ran away because of ill treatment.
  8. Some rich and educated people began to worry about the poor and homeless children and it was their concern that started charities like the Waifs and Strays' Society.
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